LOS ANGELES • The man said he lived in a "quiet village" in Yorkshire in Britain and had not heard of the hit song until 2015.
Now, 30 years after American band Chicago reached number one with the ballad Look Away, Mr Brendan Greaves, who was just a teen back then, is suing to say that he wrote the song.
He is seeking US$20 million (S$26.6 million) in damages from Diane Warren, the prolific songwriter credited with penning Look Away, which topped the charts in 1988.
Mr Greaves said he submitted the song to a British school music competition in 1987, when he was a 14-year-old student.
He did not win the contest, sponsored by now-defunct EMI Records, but alleged that Warren acquired the tune through the contest.
She has written dozens of hits since the 1980s, mostly pop tunes and power ballads, including Celine Dion's Because You Loved Me (1996) and Aerosmith's I Don't Want To Miss A Thing (1998).